Major export industries struggle to stay competitive

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VOV News English - 32 month(s) ago 2 readings

Major export industries need to join in global distribution chains, improve the quality of their products, and develop globally-recognized trademarks if they are going to boost their competitive capacity and see sustainable export growth.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been actively promoting Vietnamese products to major European supermarket chains, seeking to enter these markets more aggressively via their distribution networks, says Pham Van Chat, an expert from the ministry.

Meanwhile, major export industries report that they continue to face challenges to sustainable development.

Despite seeing annual growth in exports as high as 20 percent per year, the garment industry continues to meet challenges, including inefficient production and unstable markets and financial resources, says the deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Association, Nguyen Van Tuan.

Garment makers have often focused on maintaining jobs in the sector but not on improving processes, while Chinese and Japanese garment makers have developed more efficient production lines, Tuan says.

Domestic garment makers have also failed to develop strong support industries and local suppliers of cotton and fibres, he says.

The wood products industry has seen an annual export value increase from US$219 million in 2000 to US$3.9 billion in 2011, but the industry still remains unprofessional and unco-ordinated, confides Tran Quoc Manh, Vice Chairman of the HCM City Fine Arts and Wood Processing Association.

Nearly the entire industry consists of small-and medium-sized enterprises with unskilled workers and low output, Manh says, adding that the industry has also had difficulties in obtaining materials and are forced to import up to 70 percent of their raw materials to meet demand.

The seafood industry, despite exports exceeding US$6 billion in 2011, has faced a similar problem in sourcing quality raw materials for processing and is also grappling with anti-dumping cases and strict quality standards in export markets, says Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The domestic seafood industry needs more assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure supplies of raw materials that ensure the quality and hygiene of processed products, Hoe says.

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